The minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi has ordered a probe into the financial activities of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Akwa Ibom State and N18 billion remittances to the institution by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the last five years.
The move to begin a full audit of the institution’s finances followed allegations of financial recklessness and large scale fraud levelled against the academy’s rector, Mr Joshua Okpo.
Ekpo was said to have stirred the hornet’s nest after series of accusations he levelled against NIMASA for starving the school of funds through the agency’s alleged flagrant refusal to release the statutory five per cent subvention funds to the school.
The minister was said to have summoned the management of NIMASA to his office and asked why it was sitting on the subvention of MAN, Oron.
However, the bubble burst when the minister was told by the acting director-general of NIMASA, Mr Haruna Jauro that the agency has remitted over N18 billion to the academy since 2009.
At the enquiry of the minister, the MAN rector, Okpo, said he only took over in 2011 to which NIMASA declared that a sum of N13 billion was remitted to the institution since the rector took over.
Alarmed by the quantum of the funds, the minister was said to have become livid with Okpo whom he said has told him ‘lies’ about the true situation of the disbursements.
When asked to explain what he has done with that huge sum against the backdrop of lack of physical infrastructural development of the institution, Ekpo was said to have given inconsistent and incoherent answer.
The minister therefore ordered immediate audit of all the amounts said to have been remitted to the institution since 2009.